So I am 18 years old, I have worked with 4 different trainers, since I was 14. I am NOT a jockey, I am too tall and it's too difficult for me to reach the weight. But I know all the ins and out's of this industry, I have also been lucky to work in a very successful race stable riding a few Group 1 winners, and other horses valued over $1million (Aus)

EDIT: Ok, here is my proof I don't have my newer card on me right now, but this is my old one. Hope it's enough!

Comments: 659 • Responses: 36  • Date: 

AKR44157 karma

What kind of animal abuse/cruelty have you seen in the industry?

maddy77348 karma

I have seen a fair amount I am not going to lie. One of the stable I worked at, when the horses were being naughty, I have seen them punched in the nose/mouth, and the worse I have seen is a horse be whipped in the head, the whip struck its eye, and burst a blood vessel in its eye, so its eye was just all red like a demon, we thought it was gonna lose his eye, but a few days at the vets and he was fine.

I have heard of other trainers putting horses in the pool, and shocking them with a cow prodder, because the water makes it hurt them more. They call it 'hitting them up' If any jockey or trainer is found with one of them in their possession, they automatically lose their license.

I hate the cruelty that comes with it, I currently work at a stable where the horses receive no abuse, and it's the reason I work there.

Roserie38 karma

Do you turn people in when you see the abuse?

jamessargeant20 karma

id think it would be pretty difficult to do so. these places don't exactly have the largest staff on board, it would probably be easy to find the link in the chain thats not playing val

Roserie28 karma

We are their only advocate. There is so much abuse in the horse world that it is disgusting. I would hope that someone working in the industry who says they have such a love for the animals would report the abuse. With how little he/she gets paid I would think losing their job for reporting them wouldn't really matter if it meant saving an animal from harm. If it were me, you couldn't pay me enough to keep my mouth shut about the abuse many horses take in any area of the horse world. Look up soring, it is one of the most disgusting forms of abuse that is huge in the Tennessee Walking Horse and other gaited horse communities where trainers even use caustic chemicals to perform what they call the "Big Lick". I just really wish more people would speak up more when they see abuse.

patchworkfuckface8 karma

i dunno about other equine industries but racing in australia is almost entirely self-regulated and heavily corrupt, so there is no point in making reports. stewards make fuck-all money, too, so they're easily bribed by trainers if complaints arise.

newtothelyte11 karma

And once you do snitch, your name is probably tarnished from the whole racing community, as I'm sure its a small tight knit line of work

patchworkfuckface5 karma

yep. everybody knows everybody's business, gossip makes the time at work go faster, etc

maddy773 karma

So much gossiping you wouldn't believe, we all know everything about each other

bri353 karma


maddy773 karma

No problem, but don't assume the horses are just abused for no reason. What I mean is that the horses were being extremely naughty, they defiantly deserved a telling off, but theres a difference between that and abuse.

Facespacerase98 karma

  • Does this sport still attract large crowds?

  • What is a typical workday for you?

maddy77124 karma

The G1,2 and 3 races do, but there are a number of small races during the week, and the only people who come down those days to watch are really the owners of the horses. It's coming into summertime, and that's when all the big races are on.

A typical work day, get up at 3:45am, be at work at 4:20am, head to the track, ride between 1 and 3 horses for my trainer there. Then we had back to our stables, feed the horses, work the rest of the horses on the sand track at the stables. After clean all the waters, and pick up the poo from the paddocks, rake the walkway, and just make everything look all tidy and neat. Then take 1 or 2 horses to the beach to just wade them through the water. Finish work around 10am-12pm, we don't get any breaks either.

Facespacerase49 karma

Jeez. Do they at least pay you decently?

maddy77107 karma

Nope I earn around $400-600 a week, depending on how many hours I do, I get $14 an hour and also work 6 hours a week. I wouldn't recommend this job to anyone. But if I ever found myself without a job, I can always turn to track riding because riders are always in demand, for the reason of it being such bad pay for such hard work.

This is hopefully my last year riding racehorses, hoping to pursue a career in the police force next year!

Facespacerase45 karma

Well that really sucks. At least you can tell people you've ridden million dollar horses. Good luck with police academy.

maddy7757 karma

Yeah the experience I have gained from being in this industry is awesome and really interesting! and thankyou! I really hope I get in

OperationJericho9 karma

I know nothing about racing in Australia, or about the Australian police forces, but do any of the city police departments have horse mounted officers? Here in the United States, at least in Arkansas, they are pretty popular in cities, particularly in congested areas or during big events since they give the officers the ability to see greater distances, move quickly, and also be somewhat intimidating. Would you consider being a horse mounted officer?

maddy775 karma

Yes we have them here in Australia, it's quite popular and hard to get into, but I am hoping with my knowledge and experience with horses I will be able to! :)

El_Nero58 karma

How much (if any) of this industry is actually rigged? I know in Ireland there are a lot of people who won't bet on it as there has been so many allegations of rigged races over the years. Thanks for doing the AMA.

maddy7776 karma

I've heard of a few rigged races, the jockey continually lost on very good horses, when he use to normally win. But apart from that, hardly any, very harsh penalties apply if that sort of thing happens, trainers lose their trainers license, and jockeys lose their jockey license, which to them, is their whole career/life, so 95% don't risk it.

Ryuzakidaemon32 karma

In what country do you race? i just visited toowoomba (queensland) yesterday to see my fathers horses, and if you've raced in different countries are there any notable differences?

maddy7751 karma

I don't race, I just train the horse up to race fitness level. But I work in Western Australia. I know that over east, you race clockwise, and in WA we race anti clockwise, but that' the only difference I know.

A jockey I work with, has just come back from 11months in england, and she said it's a lot different over there. For starters, here we ride 2, maybe 3 horses at a time on the track. But in England she said there could be 60 horses and riders going around in one big group.

Ryuzakidaemon15 karma

hey, since you work in australia, do you happen to know a horse called "Red Dazzler" ?

thank you for replying :D, also sorry for not reading the part where you said you aren't a jockey

maddy7719 karma

unfortunately not!

I just looked him up, and he is a 2yo and just ran a trial at larkhill, is that the right horse? I go to larkhill track is the track we train at also

maddy7714 karma

Nice! Don't know who I was looking at haha,

How do you know him?

Ryuzakidaemon13 karma

my dad owns him, im actually quite jealous of your job, i love horses but living in the suburbs they are basically aliens. something special about horses

maddy7714 karma

That's wicked!

I live and work Rural, but up in the city there a blocks of land that are like 1/4 of an acre, and have stables, they just walk their horses to track each morning!

I like being rural and working the horse on a sand track rather than going to the actual race track every day.

Ryuzakidaemon6 karma

dang, thats pretty cool, i have so many more questions but ill stop, thanks for talking with me :D

maddy776 karma

Go ahead and ask! I am more than happy to answer :)

Although I am heading out soon so if I just stop replying I'm not ignoring you

Pointedcoast7822 karma

What's the difference between a jockey and a horse racer?

maddy7730 karma

A jockey is someone who actually rides the horses in the race. horse racer, or I would say track rider, is someone who trains the horses. Rides them everyday and looks after them to get the horse to a fitness level o they can race.

verjutz21 karma

Which stable do you ride for? I work for an online racing bookie in Melbourne :)

maddy7723 karma

That's cool! I use to work at Grant Williams, but now work for a smaller place with Kelly Grantham :)

verjutz15 karma

Ah ok. Grant Williams trained Western Jewel yeah? Perth Cup winner I believe.

maddy7723 karma

Yeah he did, I got to ride her! I was working that afternoon she won, my and my friend were sitting inside watching it, he had 3 or 4 horses in the Perth cup, and out of them all we did not expect her to win, it was a very exciting day! :)

verjutz13 karma

Haha congratulations! Don't know if you saw, but one of my old favourites Playing God just won at Ascot at 20/1. I backed that horse quite a few times when it came over to Melbourne for the Autumn Carnival. Good to see him get another win!

maddy776 karma

I must of missed it! but he would have raced at Belmont, Belmont is our winter track, hasn't been any racing at Ascot yet, but it's always great to see your favorites win! My two favorite horses are Galaxy Prince, and Desert Palace :)

verjutz7 karma

Was definitely Ascot, 9 races there today :) Do Grant Williams horses races in those pink colours with the white X?

maddy775 karma

Shows how much I know then! didn't realise they were back racing at Ascot! I was supposed to go strap today for a horse called free time, but woke up really sick.

Most of Grant's horses have those colours, but it's not his own colours, it's a guy called Bob, don't know his last name. But Grant trains a lot of his horses, other trainers also have some of Bob's horse and use the same colours. I can't actually remember what grant's personal colours were

Caviar2217 karma

Just wondering what group 1 winners you have been lucky enough to have ridden?

maddy7721 karma

A mare called Western Jewel, she won a G1 in 2011, Although the race she won, was changed in 2012 to a G2.

Another horse called Lord's Ransom, he was just retired this year. Actually I just looked him up, he hasn't one a G1, raced in a few, but won a few G2, he raced until he was 8 going on 9!

Another horse called Ranger, he is THE most laziest race horse, yet he is a superstar!

I think those are the Winners, but I have ridden a number of G1 place getters and even runners! It's because when we have a G2 or G1 race, security guards come and watch the horses that are racing to make sure you don't give them anything illegal.

Caviar227 karma

Cheers for the reply, I know Ranger well, have torn up plenty backing him before. 2011 Kingston Town stakes, where Playing God went to the lead at the top of the straght and Ranger just couldn't get there coming from way back. Funny how you can remember things like that.

maddy778 karma

hahah yeah it is! it's the style a lot of Grant's horses run at, from the back. My last memory of Ranger before moving stables, was I was riding next to him with Grant's apprentice jockey who has come over from Singapore, and it had been raining all night so there was a puddle on the sand track. Ross (his stable name) or Ranger as you know him, lept over the puddle, then took off with his head between his knees bucking!

He is real cheeky with stuff like that :)

skridge215 karma

hardest fall? ever do any showing or jumping?

im very jealous. i used to show quite a bit. i love hitting the barn before sunrise, the smell of horses hay & leather.
for personal riding, western, english, or the weird hybrid style saddle?

maddy7737 karma

I have been super lucky with falls! Only had (touchwood) 5 falls so far, lots and lots of near falls though :P

But hardest was walking out on a filly, she jacked up, put her head onto her chest ran backwards quickly, while rearing up and trying to spin. She ended up falling over sideways, my leg was trapped under body, I remember it all in slow motion and just thinking to be calm and weight for her to get up, then get the fuck out the way! haha, one of the workers said if I hadn't of moved to quick I would have gotten kicked in the head!

I did do eventing, but I recently sold my horse (to Olympian Sonja Johnson!) I sold him so I could save up money and just enjoy being 18 and go out every weekend, and he is for a serious competitor, he has 4* eventing potential but I am not good enough to get to that height. So he is now in a home where he will reach his full potential! :)

FlyingChange13 karma

How did you first get hired as an exercise rider?

How much do you weigh?

maddy7720 karma

My sister worked them before I did, so I started out on saturdays when I was 14 working with her to earn some money, and then sort of just stayed.

I am 172cm tall and weigh 65kg

EarthBrown3 karma

I've worked in the backstretch of Arlington Park for a few years and I appreciate your honesty. My question is, what trainers have you worked for, and what still attracts you to the thoroughbred industry. (P.s. I'm writing this from Keeneland)

maddy773 karma

I've worked for Daniel Pearce, Grant and Alana Williams, Kelly Grantham (my current job) and during school holidays worked for another guy once just riding six 2yo each morning.

Honestly I am not attracted to it anymore, which is why I plan to change jobs next year. I am sure you would understand that it's a lot of hard work, physically and mentally draining, but I do enjoy it still.

indeeds3 karma

Is it true the horse is made to urinate and ejaculate before a race to make him lighter?

maddy778 karma

hahaha, no that's illegal. Never heard of the ejaculate thing before.

But before we gallop them, only some of the horses get stuff called Lasix (I could be spelling it wrong) it's for horses that bleed out their nose. It's hard work for the horses, and they end up breathing so hard that it can burst a blood vessel in their lungs. As they blow out through their nose the blood is blown up. For a horse to be bleeding, even a trickle 5min after they raced will normally result in them being banned from racing, for the blood to come out that quick would mean the horse would be almost drowning in their own blood.

But this Lasix stuff does make them urinate, and if given to much can make the horse dehydrated. It's also illegal to race on Lasix in Western Australia.

indeeds-19 karma

Don't laugh at me.

maddy774 karma

I'm sorry, I did have a bit of a giggle! :P

But hey, there's a lot of weird shit in this industry!

patchworkfuckface2 karma

i have no questions, just advice; go get a real job.

i worked in racing in nsw for close to 8 years. i've worked for complete nobodies who couldn't win a race against 3 legged horses, to nobodies who went on to become somebodies, to the biggest name in the game. they all had something in common; they'll fuck their workers over any chance they can get.

so AMA also, if you'd like.

edit: just saw you're taking steps toward that real job, so good for you

maddy772 karma

You are completely right! I told myself last year I was going to get out of race horses, but that never happened. Whether or not I get into the police force this year, I am switching jobs.

Can-eh-dian2 karma


maddy772 karma

This is the first I have heard of it! that's actually quite interesting though.

The only time we have a tube down a horses stomach is when we routinely have the vet out to oil the horses. The vet pumps oil into their stomach which flushes out any sand or blockages and prevents the horses from having colic

YungsWerthers2 karma

This could have been such an informative AMA, but it sounds like OP knows next to nothing about the topic.

maddy772 karma

And what makes you say that?

I am sorry if I haven't answered these questions, but it was Saturday night and I went out with friends, I just got back to my computer now.

MIKarlsen2 karma


maddy773 karma

I'm not a jockey, I just help train them :)

defiantly a one horse sized duck, use to dealing with animals that size!

thechaosofcolour1 karma

Thank you for doing an AMA - I've always dreamt of being a jockey, but I'm too tall. I didn't that you could be taller than jockey height and still be a track rider! I've been riding horses as far back as I can remember. Do you have any horses of your own?

maddy772 karma

It's different depending on what country you live in I think. In Australia you can be any height and weight to be a track rider, but I've heard in other countries you need to a certain weight.

QuestionToAllAnswers1 karma

Im late but if you see my question: How much does the racing depend in the horse and how much on the rider (percentage wise)?

maddy772 karma

Mostly on the horse, seen some great horses win with terrible jockeys!

But in saying that the jockey does a shit load of work, and it makes a huge difference on how the horse goes.

But if you have a slow horse and a good jockey, the horse isn't going to magically win,

Spncrgmn1 karma

What's your favorite thing about the industry? Who's the coolest person you've met through the industry?

maddy772 karma

coolest thing, pretty much is just understanding how it all works

I haven't actually met anyone famous or anything in the industry, but i've met a lot of really rich people :P

JenWarr1 karma

Would you have done anything differently as you developed experience? If you could jump into any other job you wanted right now, what would it be?

maddy772 karma

probably gotten out of this industry haha

and into the police force, preferably mounted police :)

tirese1 karma

At your current or previous stables, did people discuss about the criticism about the racing industry such as wastage, cruel training methods, abuse etc or was it always in the back of their heads, people knew but didn't really talk about it?

maddy772 karma

at my current stable we talk about it all the time, we are all against the cruel training methods

rabid_ocelot1 karma

Generally, what is it like to ride young fit thoroughbreds that spend most of their time in a stall? Do you have to deal with a lot of unpleasant behavioral issues or are most of the horses fairly businesslike to ride?

maddy772 karma

well when they first come in, their first day of being ridden they will be perfect, normally well behaved and just really cautious of everything

Second day they are super naughty, and from then on they are a bundle of energy, after the first few weeks they become a nice ride, well if they are a nice horse.

onisamsha1 karma

So in college I worked in an analytical systems lab as a student worker, basically just washing equipment and keeping the lab clean. The job I HATED though was having to go through the specimen fridge and tossing out the old bottles of horse urine. Aside from running many samples through the mass spec and gas chromatograph for other researchers, the lab made extra money drug testing race horses from across the nation for PED's. The things we tested for ranged from valium to steroids to cocaine. My question is prevalent is the drugging of horses today? This was in the US, but i'm curious if you have the same problem in Australia.

maddy772 karma

We use drugs everyday on the horses. The horses that misbehave or just horses that have come in from a paddock rest we give them stuff called ace, it just helps calm them down, they don't get this 1 week before they race though because it comes up. There are a number of drugs commonly used, lasix it helps to stop the horses from bleeding out their nose, bute, which is used if the horse has an injury, it's jut a pain killer, gastrosol (sp?) is used for horses that have ulcers in their stomach and it prevents ulcers. These are the most common drugs used but they are all illegal for raceday, so as long as the horse doesn't have any of it in their system by raceday they're fine.

There probably is people who use steriods, but in the stables I have worked at I've never come across it.